It's been a few months since we announced our thru-hiking plans on Toe Salad and in that time we have been busy preparing for our hike. We thought it was time for a little update of what's been going on behind-the-scenes, on the blogs, and in our lives as we prepare for this adventure.
For this autumn and winter season VIVOBAREFOOT has launched a new range of shoes for daily use. They have insulated uppers and an insulated insole. VIVOBAREFOOT uses its V Multi 1 sole for most of these shoes. This sole is designed for cold weather use, has a thickness of about 4mm and a sole pattern that consists of indented hexagons that provides good stability, traction and proprioception.
The VIVOBAREFOOT Neo Trail is designed to be used as a trail running shoe and for “Light Mountain walking.” The upper is made of a “Hydrophobic Mesh & Microfiber: Non-toxic, breathable, lightweight, water-resistant thin mesh and microfiber quarter panel with nylon webbing.” This gives the shoe optimal flexibility, while still keeping the feet dry. The V-Trek sole (with multi-directional “V teeth”) adds traction and stability on wet and slippery terrain.
We all have different shaped feet. If you take 10 people with a size nine foot, no two will be the same. In an ideal world, footwear would be custom made to each persons exact specifications. Because we don't live in an ideal world, we have to find work-arounds to get a fit that is optimum for our needs. Xtenex aims to optimize the foot-shoe interface with an innovative shoe lace design. Is it good enough to take the shoe lace throne?
Concocted out of a mix of chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut, coconut sugar, goji berries, and a few other natural ingredients, Saquito mix is not a bar but a seedy mix similar in texture to coarsely ground birdseed. You might even go so far as calling it a southwestern take on Furikake. However you describe it, one thing is for certain: it tastes great.
Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrick trekked for four months around Alaska's Cook Inlet in minimalist shoes. Hig wore a pair of Inov-8 BareGrip 200 trail runners and Erin wore a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves. After four months on the trail, Hig now has what are most likely the most worn pair of minimalist shoes you will ever see. Not one to throw away gear before it is truly worn out, Hig did his best to effect repairs in the field using a healthy supply of Spectra fishing line and a little darning skill.
We started buying Montane gear a couple years ago. We have come to really appreciate the quality construction yet lightweight materials used. Montane specializes in lightweight endurance mountain gear for mountain climbing, cycling and running. For our Appalachian adventure Montane is helping to supply our family with one of my favorite clothing layers, puffies!
Well, it's that time of year again. The air is crisp, there is frost is on the ground, the first flakes of snow are starting to fall, and winter footwear samples are starting to roll-in. I live in a northerly climate where winter is winter. I am always on the lookout for minimalist footwear that works in cold snowy conditions, and from what I can see in my email inbox and in comments around here, I am not the only one.
This is the last in a series of articles about the Outdoor Retailer (OR) Summer Market 2013 tradeshow. Part one covered my visits to VIVOBAREFOOT, Luna Sandals and Altra; and Part two covered my visits to several non-shoe related booths including, CEP Compression, Nathan Sports, and Liberty Bottleworks. If you haven't already read those articles I recommend you check them out first. Now, onto part three, my second day at OR Summer 2013.
Our family has been buying GoLite gear for years. Backpacks, clothing and tents, we have turned to GoLite to meet our needs for affordable lightweight gear as our family has progressed from hiking to backpacking. We are pleased to announce that GoLite will be helping us out with some gear for our upcoming trip!
In the past Ecco used to be my favourite shoe brand. I owned several pairs of Ecco shoes for daily wear and when I switched to lighter weight hiking shoes the first pair I bought was a pair of waterproof, ankle high Eccos. When I started to switch to minimal shoes I realized that I had to let go of my Eccos, except for one pair that was close to a minimal shoe: lightweight, flexible and a low drop. When Ecco announced that they would start making minimal shoes too I was excited and now I have had the opportunity to test a pair.
Water shoes are a must in our house. Our adventures to the river and the beach always include scaling rocks, walking on broken shells, and climbing logs. Inevitably, my barefoot children end up with gashes in their feet if they are not protected. I want quick drying, minimal protection for their precious toes. The VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra seemed like a great option... read on to see how they fared.
Over the years we have tried various methods of water purification and filtering. First a pump filter and then Chlorine dioxide drops. A pump is too heavy and the Chlorine dioxide, while very effective, takes time. For this trip, we wanted an additional source of purifying water that was fast and effective for whatever situations we might find ourselves in. SteriPEN is perfect for that.
Over the years, I have watched the gradual evolution of Barefoot Ted's sandal company; from selling sheets of rubber and strips of leather out of the back of his car to what is now a fully-fledged running sandal "enterprise". This is a review of his latest evolution in rugged trail running sandals, the Luna Oso.
We call them toesocks and since those early years when we first discovered Vibram Five Fingers, Injinji socks have been constant companions on our feet. At first, they took some getting used to (and some of us still prefer traditional socks), but Injinji socks are now the favorite socks for most of our family members. And are worn with all types of footwear, including flip flops.
What do you do when you get a group of barefoot/minimalist runners together of varying ages, and fitness levels, and want to have a little fun? I suppose there are a lot of ideas that come to mind, several of which involve pizza and beer. I would like to introduce an activity you probably haven't heard of yet: TrailBall.
We are health-conscious people. At home, we eat plant-based meals, prepared with virtually no processed ingredients. Our usual diet will have to flex a little bit with life on the trail. We'll need lots of calories and will have less access to grocery stores. But we still have some real health concerns we need take care of. One of those being Damien's gluten and corn intolerance. There goes pretty much anything readily available in the basic food stores close to the trail. Outdoor Herbivore to the rescue.
For my 3 year old, half the fun of puddle stomping is the boots. A rainy week; mud puddles everywhere, and she is spending as much time outside in the water as she can. She is not particular about her puddles; they all get equal splashing time. Although, the bigger puddles elicit more squeals of delight with the water inching up over the top of her boots then filling the inside, emitting an intense squish-squish as she races from puddle to puddle. After all the puddles have been exhausted, she sits down on the front steps, pulls off one boot, tips it, and laughs as the water drains out onto the steps. Giggling she exclaims, “Mommy, look, my barefoot boots have puddles in them!”
As a minimalist runner with a day job (I’m an attorney), formal and semi-formal footwear has always been a source of frustration. I can wear anything I want on my feet when at home or when running, but when I’m in court my options are limited. And while there are currently many great minimalist running and casual shoes on the market, when it comes to dress shoes I have yet to find anything I love. As a result, I often feel like I spend my time at home trying to undo the damage to my feet done at work. Fortunately, a company named TUNEfootwear has decided to tackle this problem head on with a line of minimalist loafers, and I got my hands (feet) on a pair to review. What did I think of them? Read on.
The ZEMgear TerraTECH is the first shoe in ZEMgear's line to really get me excited. Not because I haven't been interested in anything else they make, but because it is targeted squarely at a market that I deeply love: the outdoors. This review therefore marks a first for me on two fronts: my first review of a split-toe shoe, and my first review of a ZEMgear product.